Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Lost Jack Kerouac

In 2012, Da Capo Press published The Sea is My Brother, the lost novel of Jack Kerouac. I had heard of this "lost " novel yet only read it several days ago. In short, I loved the book.

Now, let me get to WHY I loved the book!

This novel, written in 1943, after Kerouac completed his stint as a Merchant Marine, is the beginning of it all; the start of his literary career and his most famous work, On The Road. This novel tells the story of Wesley, a Merchant Marine who is in New York for a spell and meets up with some random people at a bar. Eventually one of them, a Columbia professor named Bill Everhart, decides that Wesley's life is just what he needs to shake up his humdrum of a literary elite life. He turns away from the comforts of the literary elite and joins his no-moss-growing friend towards the journey of change.

This novel sounds of a Kerouac just testing out his voice on the world, ready to take whatever comes his way and to proceed onward with more words, words, words. The voice is there, cracked and flawed yet it is unmistakably Kerouac; in fact, I heard his voice in my mind reading this book to me as though we were old friends that had reunited after such a long period of time. It was Jack and I was glad to see him again.

I will admit that every time I think of Kerouac or read anything about him, my mind instantly plays jazz in the background, for it is the only music that I can think of that suits him perfectly. The jazz flows, the mouth whispers and yells and I smile because I know who it is.

Thankfully, the main branch of the Memphis Public Library had copies of this book; now that I have read it, I know I want a copy of it to add to my library. If you are a lover of the Beat Generation, you need to read The Sea is My Brother.

Thank you again, Jack.

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